This smoked ham is coated in a homemade spice rub, cooked in a smoker, then brushed with a homemade brown sugar and maple glaze. The ultimate holiday ham recipe that doesn’t require any oven space!

I love a good holiday ham, some of my favorites include pineapple ham and Coca Cola ham. This smoked ham is tender and full of flavor from the sweet and savory spice rub and glaze. It’s become a must-have at all of our family celebrations.

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A brown sugar glazed smoked ham on a serving platter surrounded by grapes and fresh herbs.

My biggest problem with cooking for the holidays is that I run out of oven space. You can only fit a few things into the oven at one time, and I find that sometimes things don’t cook properly if the oven is too full. I solve this problem by relying on other cooking methods, like a slow cooker, Instant Pot, or a smoker. This smoked ham cooks outside on the smoker, leaving you plenty of oven space. And it happens to taste absolutely amazing!

How do you smoke a ham?

The first step is to select your ham. I use a pre-cooked, spiral cut ham. Keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of hams have already been smoked, so when you cook those pre-prepared hams on a smoker for your holiday meal, you actually end up with a twice smoked ham. I find that despite being twice smoked, the smoke flavor is not overwhelming at all and is absolutely perfect when paired with a homemade glaze.

A ham crusted in homemade spice rub, ready to go into the smoker.

The first step in the process is to coat your ham in a spice rub. I use my homemade BBQ rub which has the perfect amount of sweet and savory seasonings. You can rub your ham right before smoking it, or season it the night before to let the spices fully permeate the meat.

What temperature do you smoke a ham?

I smoke my ham at a temperature of 250 degrees F. You can also run your smoker at a higher or lower temperature, just be aware that the cook time will change accordingly.

How long does it take to smoke a ham?

It typically takes about 20 minutes per pound to smoke a pre-cooked ham. The internal temperature of the thickest part of the ham should register 140 degrees F when it’s completely warmed through. I find it works best to use a remote thermometer so that I can leave the probe in the ham inside the smoker, yet still monitor the temperature of the ham from inside the house.

How much ham per person?

For a bone in ham, you’ll want to estimate about 3/4 pound per person that you’re planning to serve.

Smoked ham coated in a homemade BBQ rub.

After the ham smokes for about an hour, you’ll want to start basting it every 30-45 minutes with apple cider. This keeps the ham from drying out. If you feel like your ham is looking a little dry, you can always cover it with foil inside the smoker after that initial hour.

Tips for smoked ham

  • I really feel like it’s worth it to take a few minutes to make a homemade spice rub. If you’re short on time, store bought will work fine too.
  • I use a disposable aluminum pan to smoke my ham to keep the mess to a minimum.
  • Be sure to place the cut side of the ham face down in the pan as shown in the photos.
  • Once the ham temperature registers around 135 degrees F, start preparing your glaze.
  • Garnish your ham with an assortment of herbs and fruit such as grapes for a beautiful presentation.

A smoked ham being coated in brown sugar glaze.

What is the best wood for smoking ham?

I use apple wood chips for this recipe, it compliments the apple flavor in the glaze and doesn’t impart an overly smoky flavor. Other good choices would be hickory or cherry wood.

The final step in this recipe is to make the glaze, which is a mixture of butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and apple cider. Brush it all over the ham and dinner is ready!

Sliced smoked ham on a serving platter, garnished with grapes and fresh herbs.

What do you serve with smoked ham?

I like to serve a variety of side dishes with my ham, some of my favorites include

Brown sugar smoked ham is the ultimate main course for a special occasion. It’s so incredibly flavorful and is very unique compared to your typical ham offerings!

5 from 28 votes

Smoked Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze

AuthorSara Welch
A brown sugar glazed smoked ham on a serving platter surrounded by grapes and fresh herbs.
This smoked ham is coated in a homemade spice rub, cooked in a smoker, then brushed with a homemade brown sugar and maple glaze. The ultimate holiday ham recipe that doesn't require any oven space!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 10 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Serves 10


  • 7 lbs bone in ham you can go larger or smaller, just adjust the cook time accordingly
  • 1/3 cup BBQ rub
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 1/4 cups apple cider divided use
  • fresh herbs and fruit for garnish
  • cooking spray


  • Preheat a smoker to 250 degrees F. Load the smoker with cherry wood chips.
  • Coat a disposable aluminum pan with cooking spray. Place the ham cut side down in the pan.
  • Sprinkle the spice rub all over the exterior of the ham. 
  • Place the pan in the smoker and cook for one hour.
  • Continue to cook the ham for another 2-3 hours, basting every 30-45 minutes with the 2 cups of apple cider. 
  • The ham is done when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the ham reads 140 degrees F.
  • While the ham is smoking, make the glaze.
  • Place the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and remaining 1/4 cup of apple cider in a pan over medium heat.
  • Bring the pan to a simmer. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until glaze has just thickened.
  • Brush the glaze all over the ham. Transfer the ham to a platter. Garnish the ham with herbs and fruit if desired, then serve.


This recipe is best with my homemade BBQ rub recipe.


Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 165mg | Sodium: 681mg | Potassium: 744mg | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 285IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2.2mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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5 from 28 votes (19 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. I LOVE your site and the recipe is easy to find at the bottom of the page. Going to try your smoke ham recipe this weekend.

  2. 5 stars
    I have finally gotten around to leaving you a comment. I have been using this recipe with the rub for the last three years. It has been requested by my family at every holiday meal since the first time. The family loves it as do I. Just wanted to say thank you and leave a 5 star review!

    1. Hello, I haven’t made this yet, but I am going to do so today. I’m confused about the “place ham cut side down” part. If it’s spiral cut, the cuts go all the way around, no? Or are you referring to not placing it flat side down? Also, when applying the glaze, would you then put it flat size down, so it gets a chance to caramelize around the entire cut portion? I don’t normally do hams, but my wife wants one, so…. Thanks!

  3. I am trying to get the timing of this right for a meal. The text above says there is a cook time of 20 minutes per pound – 20 minutes x 7 lbs = 2 hours 20 minutes. In the “instructions” it shows that it is a 4 hour cook time for a 7 lbs of ham. Just wondering which cook time I should follow. Thanks!

    1. I give a range because I’ve found that not all hams are the same, and not all smokers are the same. This recipe was initially tested with a spiral cut ham in an electric smoker, which is where the 20 minutes per pound estimate comes from. There are so many other variables, for example a charcoal grill may not hold a constant temperature the way an electric smoker will, the size of the bone in the ham varies, a bone-in ham that’s not spiral cut will take longer to cook. The most important thing is to use a thermometer so you can keep an eye on the temperature, and I’d plan for somewhere in the 2-3 hour range for a standard spiral ham.

    1. The gravy would just be the glaze at the bottom of the pot which you can thicken on the stove with a little corn starch!

  4. Thanks. For the cider do you pour the full 2 cups in it and baste with that or spread it out over bastings?

  5. How far open do you keep the smoke vent? (Sorry I don’t know the name for it). just barely cracked?
    Thank you!